Ask Jack: The Final Countdown

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
ask jack the final countdown

Judging from the comments on my Beetle review, some of you clearly think I’m using this whole “shattered leg” thing as an excuse to just phone it in until I can obtain a prescription for Dilaudid and start writing the authentic Hunter S. Thompson psychedelia once again. Do not worry, my little kittens. Papa has heard your cries and I will do right by you in every particular. I have plenty of time to do so, since my injuries will keep me from having sex for at least four days, possibly five. Which for me is a long time, because as you know I like to get down whenever I can.

Let us begin thus: Yesterday, I was relaxing in pre-op, waiting for a bunch of screws made from the same material as my IWC Ingenieur Titanium to be placed in my second-favorite tibia, listening to “Last Train Home” from Metheny’s first “Brazilian” record, 1987’s Still Life Talking, when the young lady next to me said “Your phone’s buzzing. Maybe it’s important.” I recognized the number: a dedicated TTAC reader and occasional contributor with a definite fondness for Mitsubishis.

“I’d better take this,” I said, waving off the surgery team.

“Mitsubishi has been a good match for my personality,” the man said. “I enjoy a vehicle that performs well at its intended purpose, but has enough rough edges to keep it from being a vanilla box with wheels.” I don’t have the clearance necessary to know exactly what this fellow does for a living, but it involves traveling the world in the company of various paramilitary and spook types. He’s driven Pajeros all over the world, and he’s owned a Montero in California, but when he’s in Ohio he drives Lancers, usually Ralliarts but sometimes the plain Lancer AWD.

This fellow is paid in a most unreasonable manner for his black-hat shenanigans, so why does he own three Lancers instead of one Audi S6? You might as well ask me why I had two Phaetons instead of one Bentley Continental Flying Spur, or why I have seventy pairs of Allen-Edmonds instead of twenty pairs of John Lobbs. Sometimes it’s best to go low-profile here in the Buckeye State. After all, whether you’re talking about the Longaberger Building or the “Field Of Corn”, Ohioans love nothing more than spending outrageous amounts of money on looking humble. So three Lancers it is. But should he make it four?

On first glance, the Evolution Final Edition seems like a reasonable deal. For $38,805, you get what is basically a GSR with a bunch of extra cool stuff and an engine that finally breaks the 300-horsepower barrier, if only by 3. Another way to look at that, unfortunately, is that when the Evolution arrived on these shores it had 271 horsepower against the Mustang GT’s 260. Today, a Mustang GT has 435 horsepower. So the Evo has gone from being 1.04 Mustangs at its US debut to 0.69 Mustangs currently. Not good, particularly when you compare the sticker prices.

Still, my friend likes AWD and he does not like Mustangs. That doesn’t mean that Ford has nothing to tempt him. The new Focus RS, for example. It’s almost certain to be faster. On the other hand, I’m not sure that my mighty J35Y2 Accord is not, in fact, faster than both of them, particularly after a couple of heat-soaked racetrack laps. She’s got that single-cam VTEC, you know, and she’s every bit as much of a man’s car as any Mitsubishi ever built. Plus the interior’s of a higher quality than what you get with either Focus or Lancer. Not that my friend cares: “I do not care about soft touch panels, or the coolest IP layout. Just have everything front and center for a quick glance, because when driving it seems to work better when looking thru the windshield and having the paws on the steering wheel and shifter.” So no i-MID display required, then.

So… should he get in line for a Final Edition, or settle for the Focus RS? Part of me wants to tell him that it’s his responsibility as an American to stand up against whatever Democratic backroom shenanigans have forced Mitsubishi to plead fealty to an electric future just to be permitted to stay in this marketplace. I’m writing this during the Democratic “debate” in which the media will formally crown Hilary and I guarantee you that we’re no more likely to hear about the disappearance of the Evolution than we are to hear about Vince Foster’s “suicide note” which basically said “HILARY IS AWESOME HRC DID NOTHING WRONG SORRY FOR THE MESS HILARY P.S. YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG”.

So a vote for the Evolution is a vote against Hilary, which is a vote for an American future in which we are not all hooked up in pods and forced to dream in the Matrix. Not that I’d mind endlessly reliving my past life in the Matrix, whether we’re talking about my attempt at pimping or some of my absolutely transcendent club-racing starts. On the other hand, a vote for the Focus is also a vote for America, because the Focus is built in Michigan while the Fiesta ST is built in Mexico. I believe in buying American wherever possible. If you come to my house, you’ll see that everything from the Sub-Zero fridge to the Paul Reed Smith Private Stock guitars to the MESA Mark V Private Reserve amplifier is made right — and made right here.

What I’m going to tell my friend is this: Any time you can’t decide on something, flip a coin. Cover it with your hand. When you take your hand away and see the result, do you feel disappointment? If so, make the other choice. I think that his heart will tell him to go with the Mitsubishi. That even if the Final Edition doesn’t make perfect rational sense, it will still appeal to his heart. That’s what really matters. And the Evolution might not be “cool” any more, but you can still have fun with a car if it isn’t “cool”. Here’s an example: me with two young fans in front of my Oldsmobile Achieva. Until next time!

What do you say, B&B — did I hit every single one of the Mandatory Jack Baruth Post Qualities laid out in the Beetle comments? Hope you enjoyed it!

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2 of 112 comments
  • VoGhost This new SLX looks to be quite a trooper.
  • Wolfwagen I would rather have an annual inspection that may catch something early or at least the driver can be informed of an impending issue. Government vs private is another issue and unscrupulous mechanics is another.On a slightly different topic is the inspection of salvage or rebuilt cars. In NYS it is strictly to ensure that stolen parts were not used to rebuild the vehicle. I would rather see an inspection to ensure that the vehicle has been properly put back together.
  • PeterPuck For years, Ford has simply reworked existing designs originating from Europe and Japanese manufacturers, not being capable of designing a decent car in the USA.What’s the last clean sheet design from the USA? The 1986 Taurus?And they still can’t manage to get things right.why is this? Are they putting all of the competent engineers and designers on the F150? Is woke diversification affecting them, as some rumours suggest? Are they rewarding incompetence?
  • Brandon What is a "city crossover"?
  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.